A new study reveals that coronavirus (COVID-19) is not a serious threat to children. COVID-19 has mild symptoms and no serious complications to show up in children. Here in this study, the researchers investigated 731 confirmed cases in children from China who were tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year. All of these were tested positive through lab-tests. Along with these positive cases, they also studied 1,412 cases of suspected cases of coronavirus in children.
Much of these cases, approximately 2,143 showed only mild symptoms and only one confirmed death. The occurrence and severity of coronavirus in children cases was a lot milder (6%) as compared to adult cases (18.5%).
The complete study results are published in the journal “Pediatrics” on March 16th.
As it’s a new virus, there are no previous studies to explain its structure and function. That is why it is taking so long for the researchers to predict the infection progress and pathogenesis for the coronavirus cases. It is still not sufficient information to make a statement on why coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t affect children as it affects adults.
Dr. Bonnie Maldonado is the chairperson of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. She says there could be more than one reason behind this. She adds that considering the novelty of this virus, it is possible that children do not possess the attachment receptor configuration for coronavirus as the adults do.
Or there are possibilities that probably this virus is studied more on adults and less on children. So there is not sufficient data on this. However, there are some studies that suggest coronavirus does not affect unborn or newly born children even if their mothers were infected during the pregnancy.
Maldonado says that she suspects that children have a different immune response to such pathogens than adults. As children’s immune system is still developing and evolving, there are chances that it could differ from the already developed immune system of adults.
It seems like this virus has spared the kids which is kind of a good thing to know during this coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, she says.
This study is significant as it is probably the only evidence right now that suggests children are less vulnerable to this virus. Almost 90% of the children studied under this experiment didn’t show any symptoms or showed mild symptoms only. Nearly 13% of the positive children still didn’t show any symptoms which are rare and interesting, depicting that many asymptomatic children might be suffering from the coronavirus infection too.
This study also raises many new questions such as; it is necessary to know how such infections could show a different response in children and grown adults. Whenever someone gets infected, he shows symptoms and is vulnerable to transmit it to other people. However, there is no way to know how these children with no symptoms could help to spread the infection if they do.
Last week, a study by Chinese researchers, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that infants can somehow get infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) but this infection is not as severe as adults. Contrary to that, another study from China says that children might only exhibit mild symptoms or no symptoms and they can also get rid of the virus on their own. This research is published in Nature Medicine.
Studies like these are proving interlinks to understand coronavirus infection in children. However, it is too early to make a conclusive remark on whether or not it is deadly for children and if they can transmit it to other people like adults or not.